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Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Featured, Politics | 17 comments

Why IRS investigation is already Obama’s Watergate – and Benghazi, too

President Magoo by Taylor Jones

President Magoo by Taylor Jones

Why IRS investigation is already Obama's Watergate – and Benghazi, too (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Copyright ImageClick to View President Barack Obama speaks under an umbrella held by a Marine as a light rain falls during a news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Thursday at the White House. He was asked questions about the IRS investigation. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP) Will Benghazi…

  • SteveK

    USA Today – Poll: Ruckus over Benghazi, IRS is driven by politics
    USA TODAY poll: Three of four Americans say the recent controversies will make it harder for Obama to get things done.
    WASHINGTON — Americans are divided over whether to believe the White House on controversies over the Libyan attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and the Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party groups, but they overwhelmingly agree on this: The furors are going to make it harder for President Obama to get things done in his second term.
    A USA TODAY poll taken by Princeton Survey Research finds nearly three of four Americans say the controversies will make it harder for the president to accomplish his goals; nearly a third say they will make it much harder. Just one in five believe they won’t have an impact.
    The nationwide poll, in the field from Thursday through Sunday, finds skepticism about some of Obama’s explanations of what happened and his actions afterward. A 53% majority say the IRS decision to single out conservative groups for extra scrutiny before granting tax-exempt status was made for political reasons, something the administration flatly denies. By 50%-44%, they say Obama deserves at least a little of the blame, though the White House says he didn’t know about it until the scandal was in the news.
    On the other hand, even more of those surveyed are cynical about why Republicans are pursuing investigations into the controversies. Six in 10 say GOP hearings into the Benghazi attack that left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead are being held more to score political points against the Democrats and Obama than to find ways to prevent future attacks. Even a third of Republicans say the hearings are driven by politics.

  • PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

    I have to ask Steve, if the IRS story was exactly the same except it was a GOP President in the White House and the targets were liberal groups, would you be giving him a pass or would you be screaming for impeachment ?

    I am not yet ready to lay this at Obama’s feet because we haven’t heard all the details yet. But I am disappointed by some of my friends on the left who seem unwilling to even entertain the idea anything wrong was done or that Obama could be wrong as well.

  • sheknows

    First of all, none of these things are on a par with Watergate! Secondly, “consider the source” as they say. Republicans have never stopped for one moment to find ways to undermine the president. When you have a Mitch McConnell stating that the Republicans vow to make him a one term presideent, and then refuse to cooperate in ANY way and keep trying to find “issues” to either get rid of him (birther) or blame him, it creates an atmosphere of unprecedented mistrust and hostility. The Republicans hands are not clean on this Benghazi situation either!
    These situations, as you say Patrick, are allegations. but you paint them as condemnations. Obama may have his share of faults certainly, but I don’t thingk the American people see him as dishonest, like Nixon, or incompetent, like Bush.

  • PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

    Well the fact that the IRS targeted conservative groups is not an allegation, they’ve admitted to as much, the issue is who knew about it.

    And I could ask you the reverse

    Is there anything Obama could do that you would be critical of or anything a Republican did that you could support ?

  • sheknows

    Yes, I actually voted for a Republican Mayor here. Better person, better qualified than our 8 year Dem incumbent. I have also voted for Republican legislators in the past. ( may have been a mistake in retrospect..LOL) and yes, I am now dissappointed in Obama for his current behaviour and have said as much, several times in various posts.

  • zephyr

    just because the media are covering it doesn’t mean either that Americans are listening or certain to be outraged

    I think Nate Silver is right. Most Americans have more important things to worry about.

  • rudi

    The Watergate IRS scandal was on orders from the Nixon Whitehouse. This scandal was from the bottom up…

  • sheknows

    Without wishing any disrespect, I suppose I am just tired of so many articles about how “this could be it for Obama”. This is his Waterloo, his Watergate, his political End of Days…whatever. The press is having a field day and every fine writer and journalist is giving their opinion on the consequences of things that have yet to be determined.

    I guess I have a problem with people electing a leader, press and media following his struggles with an incalcitrant and “nasty” congress and not giving much legitimate air time or article writing to that singular problem holding our country’s recovery back, but explode like fireworks with news of a possible scandal.

  • SteveK

    sheknows said: “The press is having a field day and every fine writer and journalist is giving their opinion on the consequences of things that have yet to be determined.”

    Well said sheknows… And the ‘righties’ just keep goading them on.


    @Patrick – I’d want the facts known before I’d give congress a two month vacation from seeing to their responsibilities and the job of governing the nation whether it was a Democrat or Republican in office.

    FWIW – The last (and only) time the Democrats impeached a President was in 1868 and after reading up it seems that that too was another Republican ‘Dog and Pony’ show.

  • brcarthey

    The Benghazi and IRS scandals I don’t lay at Obama’s feet and don’t consider this even remotely on par with any of the scandals of previous presidencies, only because he had no direct involvement. Even so with the IRS case, when you have groups who publicly hate the IRS and paying any tax whatsoever applying for a “tax-exempt” status that is usually reserved for “social welfare” groups when they know they won’t be, then those groups probably do need a little extra scrutiny, liberal groups too. In any case to my knowledge, no tea party group was denied their application so what’s the real reason for their complaint. It seems to me to be media exposure as they seemed to have been losing some clout. The bottom line is that the SCOTUS’ “Citizens United” decision created a situation that the IRS shouldn’t be involved in needing to review. Unfortunately, it has creating extra work for an organization that has been continually undermined and underfunded by Republicans every year. The IRS still does not have a permanent director since Bush’ appointed director stepped down last year.

    However, what I am disappointed in with Obama is his seeming approval of going after every single government whistleblower for any and everything instead of trying to correct issues that seriously need attention. I can forgive and support those that expose actual wrong doing, and especially illegal activities, by our government, but as with the case of the Fox News reporter getting classified intel for the sake of “beating his competitors to the scoop” should be tracked down and taken care of properly. The reason this is getting so much attention is because it’s Fox-RNC News. If it had been CNN or MSNBC, conservatives would be making cracks that Obama isn’t as in love with them as they are with him.

    In the end, I am also willing to wait for all the facts to come out before passing any judgement on any of these cases. If Obama was more fully aware than he is being presented now, then he will deserve every bit the condemnation that will come his way. As it seems (seems!) now, this does seem to be driven more by politics with an eye on both the mid-term elections and the 2016 Presidential election.

  • SteveK

    The real problem… Do you want to see the real problem?

    Here’s why we’re where we’re at (hope you have 54 minutes): PBS – Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream Even

    Watch Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream on PBS. See more from Why Poverty?.

    Jack Abramoff’s changed his mind.

  • brcarthey

    @SteveK: I was just reading a story on this documentary today on other sites that discussed how the PBS station manager here in NYC called the Kochs to give them a “heads up” that they were featured heavily in this video and to ask for their input b/c one of them is on the board of directors. They’re not the only billionaires either sitting on boards of PBS affiliates who may or may not be influenced (re: “cowered”) by their financial influence.

  • dduck

    rudi, you said it: “The Watergate IRS scandal was on orders from the Nixon Whitehouse. This scandal was from the bottom up…”.

    brc, when you put almost impossible and unreasonable obstacles in front of someone, aren’t you in effect denying them something they want? If I know my bosses’ bosses’ boss doesn’t like something, is it not surprising that you may be inclined to not like it also and consciously or unconsciously do something or think or lean a certain way?
    Of, course you should resist the inclination and add to your workload while trying to figure out what “primarily” means without proper guidance from your supervisors.
    I would love to see (c)4s knocked out altogether (fat chance), or else give them equal and fair scrutiny plus make donors visible if there is any political component.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “President Bush had his vice president, Dick Cheney, embroiled in investigations over the public outing of a CIA agent, Valerie Plame.”

    UH? Whatever happened to a war totally mismanaged and waged on false pretenses, lies and misinformation that cost more than 4,000 of our troops their lives and killed more than 100,000 Iraqis?

    I guess, since Republicans did not want to investigate themselves this does not qualify as a “Watergate,” or a “Benghazi” or as an “IRS scandal” or “an AP scandal.” Perhaps because it is one thousand times worse than Benghazi?be much worse? Hmmm

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Obama’s Watergate?

    Charlie Cook /
    Republicans’ Hatred of Obama Blinds Them to Public Disinterest in Scandals — Republicans are so focused on their bitter battles against Obama, they can’t see how little impact the “scandals” have had on public opinion. — Red-faced Republicans, circling and preparing to pounce …

    Kevin Drum / Mother Jones: Are Republicans Getting Ready to Shoot Themselves in the Foot?

    Greg Sargent / The Plum Line: Hatred of Obama could lead to GOP overreach

    First Read: Off to the races: GOP overreach?

    Washington Post:

    May 2013 Post-ABC poll — Poll Questions

    Taylor Marsh: Poll: Red-faced Republicans Losing to Mr. Cool

    Scott Clement / The Fix: Hillary Clinton remains teflon despite Benghazi

    Jamelle Bouie / American Prospect: How the “Obama Recovery” Makes Scandals Irrelevant

    Mark Murray / First Read: The GOP’s focus deficit

    Prairie Weather: So the IRS “scandal” is really about Obamacare?

    Washington Post: Obama’s rating steady in face of controversies, likely buoyed by rising economic hopes

    Susan Page / USA Today: Poll: Americans see Benghazi, IRS as political footballs

    Kos / Daily Kos: As scandalgate fizzles, the village talks overreach

    CNN: CNN Poll: Likability helps Obama survive brutal week

    Brent Baker / NewsBusters: Which Way Is It? ‘Scandals Threaten Obama’s Agenda’ Or Obama ‘Holds Firm’?

    Ezra Klein / Wonkblog: Here’s why the ‘scandals’ aren’t affecting Obama’s poll numbers

    Ramesh Ponnuru / Bloomberg: ‘Obama Scandals’ Could Actually Hurt Republicans

    Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight: Is the Economy Saving Obama’s Approval Ratings?

    Seth Masket / Pacific Standard. Smart …: Why Haven’t Obama’s Scandals Hurt His Approval Ratings?

    Brett LoGiurato / Business Insider: WHAT SCANDALS? Obama’s Approval Rating Is Actually Rising In Some Polls

  • dduck

    “But potential dangers lurk: Americans are widely suspicious of the Obama administration’s behavior on Benghazi, with 55 percent in the new poll saying it is “trying to cover up the facts.” Fewer, 33 percent, think it is “honestly disclosing what it knows.”

  • SteveK



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